Wasabi

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Wasabi

Postby Bill Spohn » Sun Nov 03, 2013 1:09 pm

How many of you have tasted real wasabi?

I'll bet far more than have actually met up with the real deal, as most of what we see in North America is green dyed horseradish etc.

Interesting article on a real wasabi plantation in Washington State. Jenise - we want a comparative tasting of the usual vs. the real, vs. the American real deal!!

http://www.steamykitchen.com/15015-real-fresh-wasabi.html
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Re: Wasabi

Postby Mike Filigenzi » Sun Nov 03, 2013 2:10 pm

A few years back, we started getting the real stuff in here from a place that's in (IIRC) Oregon. I believe it's still around, sold in toothpaste tubes. As one would expect, it's a different animal from the reconstituted green powder.

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Re: Wasabi

Postby Jenise » Sun Nov 03, 2013 4:37 pm

That's interesting! Bill, just a week or so ago I told this story in the Horseradish thread, that veered momentarily into wasabi territory. That is, a long time ago--I was living in Alaska at the time so that's 20 or so years ago--I recall a magazine article about an operation in Oregon where they were growing wasabi, notably the first wasabi successfully grown outside of Japan. The rhyzomes need, or so it was believed at the time, a constant source of fresh running water and nobody had ever succeeded at duplicating the process for mass production, though many had tried. The operation was carefully guarded, as the Japanese had heard about it and sent spies to try to gain access to their method. When some came up for sale commercially, friends bought some so I got to taste it. It was wonderful. Night and day difference between that and the paste made from powdered horseradish that passes for 'wasabi'. Iadded that "A lot has probably been learned since and for all I know people are growing it in their own homes in acquariums or something."

They'll probably perfect the process the day after the last safe wild fish gets caught.
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Re: Wasabi

Postby Bill Spohn » Sun Nov 03, 2013 5:21 pm

Looks like you can get it here: http://chefshop.com/ or at least you could at one tyime. Maybe they know where it is available now.

I've been thinking about doing a wasabi sorbet as a palate cleanser for awhile now.....

Doesn't this sound like fun? http://www.tentrillioncellhuman.com/fre ... receptors/
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Re: Wasabi

Postby Jenise » Sun Nov 03, 2013 6:47 pm

Bill, I actually saw real wasabi rhyzomes for sale once at the Central Market in Shoreline (north of Seattle, just a few miles off of I-5). Only time I've ever seen it, but it could be there and I've just not noticed it. I'm sure it's not something readily available most of the time since these growers are all kind of nervous and secretive (they wouldn't have to be if things were otherwise), but still, it was exciting to see up here. One might think that sushi restaurants would take all anyone could grow, but on the other hand if their average customer doesn't even know that what they love isn't the real thing anyway, it would keep costs down to not subscribe.
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Re: Wasabi

Postby Frank Deis » Sun Nov 03, 2013 7:40 pm

I have bought the rhizomes at Mitsuwa in Edgewater NJ. There are issues of timing and texture that would make Bill's idea of a sorbet very tricky. I took the rhizomes to my local sushi place -- I knew it was run by Chinese but I thought they would know what to do with it. They didn't and I was disappointed. They put it through a coarse grater. You have to grate it very fine and disrupt the cell structure -- and then the hotness goes up for about 15 minutes and then descends over the next 15 minutes. I finally got a sharkskin wasabi grater but since I got it I haven't had a chance to get more of the rhizomes. They look kind of like green pine cones, 5 or 6 inches long. I =think= there are people who are getting them to grow in the Pacific NW somewhere.

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Re: Wasabi

Postby Jeff Grossman/NYC » Sun Nov 03, 2013 11:42 pm

I have had fresh wasabi at a fancy sushi restaurant in my neighborhood: if you order the sushi flown in from Tsukiji, they'll serve the real root with it. They brought a sharkskin covered paddle, ground the rhyzome on it, and put it on the plate. The texture was like shredded garlic. The flavor is clear and sharp, acidy, kinda fruity, not really horseradish-y or mustard-y at all. The flavor of the soy sauce - salty, fermented - did not merge with it but danced around it. It's definitely desirable.
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